Assessing the sustainability of underground space usage - A toolkit for testing possible urban futures

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27 Citations (Scopus)


A description of the future as it might be without forecasts, predictions and trend analysis can be referred to as a 'sfuture scenario'. An abundance of scenarios literature exists in which numerous pictures have been painted of changed future worlds. However, upon closer inspection it becomes apparent that virtually all of this literature refers to changes occurring above ground, ignoring the inevitable consequences (or opportunities) for sustainable use of underground space, not least in densely populated urban areas, some of which may be underlain by complex geological conditions. This paper reports on the development (to date) of an 'Urban Futures' (UF) toolkit for sub-surface environments (including infrastructure and utilities) which, through use of 'key' questions 'sustainable' indicators and a 'contextual' narrative, allows for better definition and measured performance of underground space in the UK, both today and in the future. The toolkit explores possible uses for underground space within 4 plausible and well-cited future scenarios (i.e. New Sustainability Paradigm, Fortress World, Market Forces and Policy Reform). This forms part of a much larger generic toolkit which the UF research team are developing for exploring possible future scenarios over a range of UK urban regeneration case study areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-222
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Mountain Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • urban futures
  • underground space
  • toolkit
  • sustainability


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